Cervical cancer cases plummeted among British women and girls who received a vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a new study.
The results published in The Lancet medical journal on Thursday said that women in their 20s who were jabbed against HPV between ages of 12 and 13 with a GlaxoSmithKline product called Cervarix had up to an 87 percent lower risk of developing cervical cancer linked to the virus compared with unvaccinated women.
“We hope that these new results encourage uptake as the success of the vaccination programme relies not only on the efficacy of the vaccine but also the proportion of the population vaccinated,” said co-author Kate Soldan of the UK Health Security Agency.
The cancer rate was 62 percent lower when the shots were given between ages 14 and 16 and reduced by 34 percent in vaccinated girls aged between 16 and 18, researchers reported.
Rates of a pre-cancerous condition were reduced by 97 percent when the shots were given at ages 12 and 13, the study also found.
The findings “should greatly reassure those still hesitant about the benefits of HPV vaccination”, the researchers said.
Funded by Cancer Research UK, the study looked at registry data from January 2006 to June 2019 on those who had been screened for cervical cancer between 20 and 64, including women who received the Cervarix vaccine after it became available in 2008.
During the nearly 13-year period, about 28,000 diagnoses of cervical cancer and 300,000 diagnoses of a pre-cancerous condition called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN3) were recorded in England, data showed.
The young women who were vaccinated had approximately 450 fewer cases of cervical cancers and 17,200 fewer cases of CIN3 than expected in unvaccinated women of the same age.
Cervical cancer is rare in young women. Follow-up research as women grow older is needed to fully assess the vaccines’ effect.
Cervarix, developed by GSK, protects against two HPV types that are responsible for about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cervical cancers.
Since September 2012, Merck & Co’s quadrivalent vaccine Gardasil, which protects against four HPV types linked to cervical and head and neck cancers, has been used in England instead of Cervarix.
GSK stopped selling Cervarix in the United States due to low demand with Gardasil dominating the world’s most lucrative market.